Initiatives are a way to describe larger efforts.
They group smaller contributions together as part of one Initiative, so it's easier for people to estimate how valuable they think the contributions are.
Initiatives can also be used for contributions that aren't (yet) recorded on a supported platform. So they can also help to recognize and reward all kinds of contributions, even when they're not always creating tangible things. Such as moderating meetings and organizing events.
When is it useful?
SourceCred is a social algorithm. So communities will need a way to decide what's important and valuable to them. Doing this for thousands of separate contributions is really difficult and time consuming. For larger projects it quickly becomes impossible to keep track of. It's also fairly unnatural. How would you decide what a single forum topic contributed to your project, without looking at the context and bigger picture?
With Initiatives, we can look at how much an Initiative seems to be worth, and let the algorithm do the heavy lifting to figure out how much Cred all these individual contributions should have.
This should come in handy regardless of whether you're trying to reach a consensus or are looking for interesting contributions to boost.
Other reasons to use Initiatives:
- To recognize and reward contributions that would otherwise not be picked up by SourceCred. "Filling in blind spots" by manually creating Initiatives.
- To create incentives for work that still needs to be done.
When is it not so useful?
Initiatives work for efforts that have a clear start and finish (they're finite). They're not suitable for tracking ongoing efforts.
- ✅ Write the initial Concepts documentation.
- ❌ Make sure we have good documentation.
This is because Initiatives have a simple approach to thinking about value over time. It has a weight before it's completed and one after it's completed. For an ongoing effort that is oversimplified.
What's in an Initiative?
There's several important pieces that go into an Initiative.
- A title, like "Create the Discourse Plugin".
- A timestamp, of when the Initiative was worked on.
- A weight before and after completing.
- Whether it's completed or not.
- The champion(s) for it.
- The contributions that are part of it.
- Any dependencies it has.
- Any references used.